Manhattan as Mumbai

I’ve been to Mumbai, India a few times, Ray’s birthplace. Although it’s fairly easy to picture the natural beauty Mumbai once was when Ray was growing up, it is so different now.

Mumbai is overcrowded with people, bikes and cars. The streets are chaotic with pedestrian overflow from the sidewalk and the occasional farm animal all cramming for space. The housing market is severely overpriced as there is no where to build but up. When you walk around the city you see the huge divide between rich and poor. There is essentially no middle class. You either have a car and driver or you sleep on the street. It’s not uncommon to see entire families living on a street corner with a multi-million dollar condo across the street.

Recently I’ve noticed Manhattan is becoming similar. No, I haven’t seen any farm animals walking down the sidewalk, but the divide between rich and poor is becoming more obvious. With Governor Cuomo declaring a state of emergency for the NYC subway system, people with means can find other ways to get around. Those who rely on the subway are stuck with no other options. As more people drive into Manhattan the traffic is snarled all the time. And more people are disobeying the traffic laws.

A few carrots are being thrown to at least attempt to address some of the housing issues in the city. Many new residential buildings set aside units for low-income families. But the chances of being able to purchase or rent a unit are slim. One building with 55 low-income units had 88,000 applicants.

Middle class people are leaving NYC because they don’t want to have to work so hard just to pay the rent.  Life is getting tougher in this city and people want to have a better quality of life.

Who will be left in Manhattan? The very rich and the very poor.

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